Throughout evolution, body hair has served many functions. It protects us, helps us regulate our body temperature, and helps sweat evaporate.
Despite all these useful functions, society has deemed some hair as “good” and some hair as “bad.” For instance, most agree that eyebrows should come in pairs, and that ear hair isn’t always a preferred trait.
No matter what part of your body you’re trying to shave, people with psoriasis have to take extra precautions.
Psoriasis, which affects more than 8 million Americans, is a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes your body to incorrectly attack healthy tissues.
The most common version is plaque psoriasis, which causes patches of thick red skin that shed silvery scales. Besides being more prone to nicks and cuts, these patches are easily irritated by shaving.
While winter makes psoriasis symptoms worse, it also brings the advantage of not having to shave your legs as much. But when it’s time to shave your legs, here are some tips for people with psoriasis.
1. Wait a few minutes
Shaving your legs shouldn’t be your first duty in the shower. Allow time for your leg hair to soften and your follicles to open.
2. Take your time
Rushing through shaving only increases your risk for cutting yourself, especially around the knees, where psoriasis loves to flare up. If you’re in a rush, consider wearing pants or tights.
3. Don’t dry shave
The idea alone should be enough to make you shudder — whether you’ve got psoriasis or not. Use some kind of lubricating agent, like shaving cream or gel.
If you only have soap on hand, that will do. Or you could try something creamier, like hair conditioner.
4. Shave in the direction of the hair
Shaving against the grain may get you a closer shave, but that’s also how you can irritate your skin. Maybe you need to repeat a few more times, but it’s always safer to shave in the direction of your hair.
5. Don’t use single-blade razors
Buying a multiple-blade razor is a wise choice. The extra blades increase the surface area and can help prevent irritation.
After you’re done shaving and showering, apply moisturizers and medications as you normally do.
Some people develop psoriasis patches in their armpits, making it another sensitive area for shaving. Besides the tips mentioned above, here are more for keeping irritation at bay.
1. Ease up a bit
Pressing your razor too hard, especially in the delicate crevice of your armpit, makes cuts, scratches, and irritation more likely.
2. Hold off on the deodorant
Give your skin a chance to breathe before you apply any deodorant. Also, make sure your deodorant isn’t gel-based. Those are more likely to irritate the skin.
3. Skip the antiperspirant
Deodorants are usually fine, but the aluminum-based compounds found in most antiperspirants can unnecessarily irritate skin. This is especially true for strongly scented antiperspirants.
If you shave your face and have psoriasis, you know the pains of shaving daily, especially during a flare-up. Here are a few ways you can get a decent shave without causing unnecessary irritation to your face.
1. Shave in the shower
The warm water of your shower helps soften your hair and open your follicles, making shaving easier. To prevent accidental cuts, placing a small mirror in your shower might also be a good idea.
2. Invest in a good razor
Those single-blade disposable razors are fine in a pinch, but you should use something better. Try multiblade razors to help reduce cuts and irritation.
3. Replace your blade often
You shouldn’t be scraping your face with a dull razor. Regularly replace your blades for a smoother shave.
4. Avoid alcohol-based gels or aftershave
Using shaving creams instead of gels makes for a much smoother shave and reduces the risk of cuts and irritation.
After you’re done shaving, apply some fragrance-free face moisturizer to hydrate and calm your skin.
It’s also a wise idea to talk to your dermatologist for other tips on making shaving less of a hassle for you and your skin.